Last week, my very, very shy first grader had a tough day. During reading, two other children were drawing naked pictures of my boy. When another child told the teacher, her response was appropriate and appreciated by us. There were, however, some extenuating circumstances, and the response took on a life of its own. Before the day was over, other teachers and the principal were involved, and calls were made to the parents of the artists.
My shy boy told us nothing of the experience and when the teacher finally reached me by phone very early the next morning, I really wasn't sure how I felt about the hoopla surrounding the event or the way my quiet boy felt guilty based on the involvement of the ancillary staff and principal.
I do believe that if my child had been the artist and I had received a call from the teacher and the principal, that I might have made a conciliatory call to the parents of the teased child. It would have been a simple, "We're sorry and we are working with our child on this," call and that would have been that. In this case, however, the other parents haven't said a word to me.
Yesterday was a big moment though. As we waited for our first graders to exit the school, the mom of one of the artists began to walk toward me. I had about 1/20 of a second to plan my gracious and mature response to what I knew would be her apology. She sauntered over, and when she was within touching distance, she leaned in and whispered,
"You have a sign on your back. It says, 'Kick me.' "
She smiled and walked away. I reached around and felt my back, and there was the sign, courtesy of my less shy third grade son.
Thus, was my planned gracious and mature response wasted.